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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Egypt – What Next?

Filed under: Egypt, The Middle East

Mubarak’s regime in Egypt is on the verge of collapse as the stalemate continues between the army and the crowds. The army is trying to exhaust the demonstrators and at the same time appear to the silent majority as the force which saves Egypt from anarchy. The army conducts nightly arrests, especially among members of the Muslim Brotherhood, but they soon regain their freedom as the crowds invade the regime’s prisons.

Is there an invisible hand operating behind the demonstrations? The leaflets containing the demands toward Mubarak indicate that there is such a body. After some hesitation, the Muslim Brotherhood has also joined the demonstrations and announced its demands. It is reasonable to assume that other Islamist organizations will join the protest cycle as well.

The crowds are not interested in provoking the army. At the same time, the army understands that a frontal confrontation with the crowds will lead to a bloodbath, from which there is no way back.

The more likely scenario is that we are going to witness a totally new situation: the army will support the new political forces that will emerge from the current flare-up. The more these forces appear “clean” from the corruption of the Mubarak regime, the easier it will be for them to be accepted by the crowds.

The writer, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.